I was surprised and intrigued by two HARO (Help a Reporter Out) e-mails this week , both sponsored by Saunders & Silverstein, an Amesbury, Mass.-based law firm specializing in trademarks, copyrights, licensing and domain names:
“Law is scary. Hide-under-the-blanket scary sometimes. That’s where our awesome HARO family member Saunders & Silverstein come in. They handle issues with trademarks, copyrights, licensing and domain names. They can also help you set up a solid legal strategy to meet your goals. You’re going to be in good hands, since they handle domestic and international trademark and copyright protection, as well as Internet and entertainment law. And it doesn’t matter if you are one person or a publicly traded company – they work with them all and tailor a plan accordingly. Check out http://bit.ly/d3B25O and if you are a new client and mention this HARO ad, they will give you 25% off their fee for your first U.S.trademark application filing. SWEET!”
If you’re unfamiliar with HARO, it’s a social media service that distributes inquiries from information seekers (e.g. journalists and bloggers) to potential sources (e.g. PR folks, marketers and subject matter experts of various stripes). Like Craigslist classifieds for stories and storytellers.
Saunders & Silverstein might not be the first firm to try running a coupon special on HARO, but they’re certainly the first I’ve noticed. And it makes perfect sense on several levels.
Highly qualified, highly targeted distribution – HARO subscribers trade in intellectual property, and even if they do not have a direct need for legal services, they likely have clients who do. As the HARO advertising sales pitch notes, sponsors are reaching “Engaged, active members of a community who will read their ads, listen to our unique perspective on the sponsor’s offer, and then take action and buy something.”
Trust and Loyalty – HARO subscribers are social media professionals and true believers, and founder/CEO Peter Shankman is something of a cult figure. Social media types remember the businesses that take them seriously, and they reward that engagement with positive word of mouth.
Eyeballs – HARO claims a “75 %+” open rate for its e-mail distributions, and the folksy feature lead of each message is derived from the sponsor’s message/offer.
Since legal services aren’t an impulse buy, it might take a while before Saunders & Silverstein see the ROI they’re hoping for. I hope they’re at least getting some click-through traffic that trends in the right direction — and that they will let me know how it turns out either way. This would make a very interesting case study.